I’m not a culture warrior. I’m not sitting in my chair fretting about how gay marriage is going to undermine society. I don’t support the rallies or the organizations that are trying to inject Judeo-Christian values in to our government. I do however see the impact of an ever increasing culture of greed, selfishness, deceit and dishonesty. I’ve been consuming a steady diet of commentators point out very plainly how corrupt our finance industry is. Right now I don’t trust the markets at all, that game is rigged hard.
I read something of of a curve ball today. Apparently there is quite the culture of corruption the American agency charged with regulating the offshore oil industry.
The Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General released a report this morning indicating as much. At one Gulf Coast office of MMS, agency officials attended sporting events on the dime of oil companies, stored porn on company computers, used cocaine and crystal meth, and falsified inspection reports. (The above links go directly to the relevant pages in the report, thanks to our ever-handy document viewer.)
Read whole article here
When I think about this and then I think about the environmental and economic devastation wrought by the the current oil leak I get mad. The decoupling of our society from traditional morals and ethics has been disastrous. Dishonesty and corruption siphon off the productivity of our economy and destroy our inheritance of resources.
I’m not arguing that increasing the influence of the church would fix things. The church is just as much as this as anything else in society. We are part of the corruption. We have taken the values of consumerism and individualism and spiritualized them. When the hollow shell of all this unsustainable living and ponzi finance collapses it will take much of churchianity with it.
We need the golden rule…treat others in the same way you want to be treated. At the very least we need to stop screwing each other over and lying to ourselves. Karl Denninger at Market Ticker often makes the point that the math doesn’t lie. The math is America is broke, and Europe is even more broke. We have very elaborate systems that convince us that we can get something for nothing but in our great circle of life the only thing free in this world is the energy from the sun. The adjustment to this reality is going to be very difficult. We have built up programs, institutions, facilities and systems on the assumption that we will have ever expanding resources of energy, finance and labour. While math doesn’t lie, neither does geology.
The first crunch will likely be economic. Europe is teetering, and while it is has been a fascinated ride watching our politicians levitate the economy on borrowed money, it will eventually run out. When it does things are going to get tough. All borrowing does is pull forward consumer demand. Everything I borrow now I have to payback later, and because I’m paying it back later I’m not buying anything later. So the people who produced something for me to buy won’t get any business from me in the future. What happens when I can’t borrow anymore? I can’t buy anything now or later, or I declare bankruptcy and someone else eats the loss and can’t buy anything either.
The next crunch will be in energy. Increasingly it takes more and more energy to pull energy from the ground. That means less energy to go around. No one knows for sure, but by around 2012-2014 no amount of “drill baby drill” will be able to pull out enough energy to meet demand. At that point the world has to relocalize as our society cleanses itself of SUVs, California strawberries in winter and short term mission trips. If the economic crunch hasn’t happened yet, it will happen at this point.
Mixed in with that will be the impact of climate change. Over the last little while we’ve enjoyed a lull in solar irradiance. That means the heat we get from the sun has dipped for a little bit and muted the impact of all those green house gasses. Now it looks like the sun has shifted back in to higher gear and El Nino has belched up a mess load of stored heat in the pacific. It looks like 2010 is going to be the hottest year on record. So much for the climate skeptics “global cooling theory.” Our traditional climate patterns will be upset. Some places will benefit while more will not.
We live in interesting times.